This week I have the pleasure of introducing New York fashion week newcomer Shamila Jiwa, a self-taught Seattle based gemologist with a huge passion for unusual stones. Her designs are uniquely exquisite pieces of jewellery with a focus on timeless, distinctive beauty. During her London stop-off, Shamila took time to meet me for a girlie chat over cocktails and a sneak peak at her new collection.
Sitting in the Mayfair bar, Shamila oozes a contagious zeal for her work and what it represents. Born in Tanzania and of Indian heritage, Shamila Jiwa designs jewellery that reflects her extensive travels and rich ethnic heritage. Her designs cleverly combine aspects of Turkish, Indian, and Asian motifs.
Despite being so exotic and culturally rich, the jewellery remains largely versatile as wearable art. Inspiration for her pieces are found everywhere she explains. "Travel, architecture, textiles, food, nature, relationships.." - all important factors to the creative process.
Since the launch of her design career in 2002, the use of unusual gemstones such as Labradorite has generated a loyal collective of discerning, international clients and I can see the attraction. Her work is impressive - the craftsmanship and exquisite detailing of each design really is on par with some of the long-standing, established jewellers. Her work is as endearing as Tiffany and as luxurious as Boodles but it also has a soulful, sexy nonchalance that is a cut above.
This is a bold statement, but one that is very fitting - In fact, I'm surprised that the likes of Vogue and Harpars Bazaar have not discovered her sooner. From her signature Blue Glimmer Boa Necklace to the Golden Decadence Earrings, her designs exude an understated elegance, fit for the red carpet.
Shamila is a hidden treasure, but this year may see the international acclaim she deserves. Her debut at Nolcha Fashion Week is fast approaching, and she has high hopes that her designs will have a larger international precedence to add to the awareness of her work state-side.
Nolcha is the award wining home for independent designers and host to a special New York and London fashion week, running alongside the main event. Nolcha Fashion Week will see Shamila's work featured in a stand-out showcase to editors, retailers, stylists and industry figures. With one week to go, I am quietly confident that Shamila is a global phenomenon waiting to happen.
Shamila's facebook page
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